MANILA – Lower payments for capital goods reduced merchandise imports by 0.1 percent in December, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
“After posting four consecutive months of positive growth from August to November 2013, the value of imported capital goods recorded a double-digit decline of 29.5 percent in December 2013,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.
This caused overall spending for merchandise imports to decrease to US$5.29 billion in December 2013, slightly lower than the US$5.30 billion import value in December 2012.
The decline in imports of telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (-45.6%), aircraft, ships and boats (-29.2%), office and EDP machines (-33.9%), power generating and specialized machines (-9.5%) and photographic equipment and optical goods (-17.9%) significantly affected capital goods.
Meanwhile, for full year of 2013, the value of merchandise imports fell slightly by 0.7 percent from US$62.1 billion in 2012 to US$61.7 billion. But with stronger performance of exports, total trade-in-goods deficit narrowed to US$7.7 billion in 2013 from US$10.0 billion in 2012.
On the other hand, higher imports of mineral fuels and lubricants, raw materials and intermediate goods, and consumer goods were recorded in December 2013.
The value of overseas purchases of mineral fuels expanded by 34.7 percent to US$1.2 billion in December 2013 from US$880.8 million in December 2012. Also, total payments for imported raw materials and intermediate goods increased by 10.3 percent to US$2.0 billion from US$1.9 billion in the same period a year ago.
“This was mainly due to the 21.1 percent increase in the import payment of semi-processed raw materials, particularly of materials and accessories for electrical equipment, which recorded a 64.4 percent annual expansion,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.
“The increase in this segment paralleled the optimistic prospects on the recovery of the country’s electronic exports, following the consecutive increases in outward sales that have been recorded since September 2013,” he said.
Year-on-year gains were also noted for imports of consumer goods, which amounted to US$723.5 million in December 2013, up by 5.2 percent from US$687.6 million in the same period in 2012.
As for the source of Philippine imports, the People’s Republic of China has the biggest share with 14.7 percent, equivalent to US$776.5 million.
Second is the United States of America with a 10.9-percent share, followed by South Korea (8.0%), Japan (7.7%), Taiwan (7.2%), Saudi Arabia (6.6%), Thailand (6.1%), Singapore (6.0%), Indonesia (4.7%), and Malaysia (4.6%).